Monday, May 26, 2008

Wearing Out the Work-At-Home Wardrobe

My commute to work is a short one. I roll out of bed, step into my slippers, and meander down the hallway into my office, which is literally ten feet away. It is not a stressful or difficult journey, and I don’t have to interact with anyone along the way. Except maybe a few cats, whose only interest in me involves the distribution of their morning meals. Once that particular ritual takes place, they remain fairly quiet for the rest of the day.

Otherwise, I arrive at my work without any of the anger or anxiety that sometimes accompanies the morning commute. It is a true blessing, not to mention a real money saver on tolls, take-out lunches, and office birthday parties. (The ladder being a double-edged sword, as you’re no longer asked to contribute to the birthday present fund, nor are you given any more birthday presents either. Que sera, sera!)

Anyway, the casual relaxed atmosphere also means that my office attire has been significantly pared down from a colorful assortment of designer clothes and expensive shoes to a few old t-shirts and a growing supply of lounge pants. Yes, lounge pants. I know they’re just glorified pajamas bottoms, but I really love them. I have a pair in every color, pattern and print imaginable. And now I finally understand why the much lampooned “house dress” was such a favorite among housewives in the sixties and seventies. You could literally walk around with everything hanging out, without actually having everything hanging out.

It also explains why one of my drama teachers in college insisted on wearing a pair of sweatpants to work every day. His standard outfit was a white polo shirt, sweat pants and tennis shoes. He directed many of the musicals at school, so I guess he never wanted to feel constricted should he suddenly need to launch into some kind of intricate choreography, or demonstrate a proper arabesque. Not that he ever did. Being a rather large overweight person with a prominent stomach, his range of dance technique never strayed far from the traditional cakewalk, a device he utilized in almost every musical he directed. (Including the annual Nativity reenactment, which was no easy task! Imagine a chorus of sheep, goats and Wise Man doing the cakewalk across the stage behind the Manger. Pure inspired lunacy.)

But as a role model for untraditional work attire, the teacher was a ground-breaker. And though at the time, I found his clothing choice to be somewhat undignified for a man of fifty-five, I totally understand now why he did it. Comfort, pure and simple. Now I’m not suggesting that every office environment change their attire to gym clothing, but if you’re a work-at-home individual like myself, comfort is key when it comes to what you wear around the house.

Not to say this overly casual wardrobe doesn’t have its drawbacks. For instance, any time the postal worker or UPS man knocks on my door with a delivery, I must quickly change from lounge pants into jeans because I wouldn’t be caught dead answering the door in lounge pants. Especially since I tend to wear the same shirt and pants for several days in a row, a practice which has been observed and commented on by more than one of my neighbors. Talk about embarrassing.

But before you accuse me of being uncleanly, I assure you that I do not wear clothing that has experienced any sort of spillage or staining due to food or drinking mishaps. Nor do I lie around in perspiration infested garments that make me smell like a litter box. If the clothing doesn’t smell good, I don’t wear it. I’m not a sloth, after all. Just a very relaxed and happy employee.

But that’s just me. What is your favorite work-at-home attire?


Catherine said...

Right now its pants and baggy shirts. When I lose the weight its going to be jeans and concert T-shirts.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

I don't work at home, but I do work for a whitewater rafting company...which means my work attire is typically a pair of river shorts from Immersion Research, a T-shirt/base-layer from Mountain Hardware or Columbia or North Face, a pair of sandals by Teva, and some form of baseball cap--usually promoting some type of sports team from Michigan, such as the Detroit Red Wings, who are now up 2-0 over Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.

And the really great thing about these clothing options is that easily double as loungewear or sleepwear after a long day on the river and apres-riviere partying AND they are made to get wet, so if I start smelling too badly in them, I can just go jump in the river and clean off! (No, I'm not that bad.)

Have an awesome day at work and I'll do the same!

Henson Ray said...

Catherine--Baggy shirts are always very popular. Good luck with the weight loss. I know how tough that can be.
Matt--Are you pimping for these clothing companies or something? Heh, heh. Glad your Red Wings are doing so well.

Angel said...

I'm also all about drawstring lounge pants. No Elastic!!!:D

I don't work from home except when I'm writing, but the minute I hit the door, lounge pants are on. My fav are pink and brown terry cloth. So comfy:)

tashabud said...

It sounds like you have the best job and the best boss in the whole world. I wish I can be my own boss, too, so I can be in my flannel sleepwear when I go to work. Actually, I wear casual clothes for work now, but in a month, we'll be required to wear uniforms. We have no say as to the design of our uniforms. It will be interesting to see what they look like. Have a great weekend.